Saturday, November 16, 2013

List of the 50 Greatest Breakthroughs the world has seen and why they become insignificant as time passes.

The Atlantic has compiled a terrific list of "The 50 Greatest Breakthroughs Since the Wheel". 

I encourage you to read the article associated with the list. The author does nice job of creating over-arching categories that each of the breakthroughs fall into. Notice a common word?:
1. Innovations that expand the human intellect 
2. Innovations that are integral to the physical and operating infrastructure of the modern world 
3. Innovations that enabled the Industrial Revolution 
4. Innovations extending life 
5. Innovations that allowed real-time communication beyond the range of a single human voice 
6. Innovations in the physical movement of people and goods 
7. Organizational breakthroughs that provide the software for people working and living together in increasingly efficient and modern ways
All/most of the breakthroughs identified came about as a result of MANY small innovations and discoveries aggregated over time and allowed the  "Big Idea/Product" to eventually emerge. This is an under-appreciated aspect of the process by which these game-changing ideas and products come about.

While all the items of the list stand prominent by themselves, they pale in comparison to the "spin-off" ideas and innovations that were spawned as a result of the initial breakthrough.

Think of electricity and its eventual democratization ("cheapened",or scaled, so it is available to the masses) and how it allowed the proliferation of seemingly infinite new ideas and products.  Electricity is now an afterthought and its significance is virtually lost in the process as time passes.

If you look at the list you can substitute anyone of the identified 50 breakthroughs with the word "electricity" in the above paragraph and come to the same conclusion.

Eerie, isn't it?
View My Stats